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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Bulkowski’s Pennants

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Market
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 04/22/2014
16,514 65.12 0.4%
7,735 48.71 0.6%
543 0.04 0.0%
4,161 39.91 1.0%
1,880 7.66 0.4%
YTD
-0.4%
4.5%
10.7%
-0.4%
1.7%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 04/11/2014
16,600 or 15,900 by 05/01/2014
7,775 or 7,525 by 05/15/2014
560 or 530 by 05/01/2014
4,250 or 3,900 by 05/01/2014
1,900 or 1,800 by 05/01/2014
Mutt Winners: None YTD

Written by and copyright © 2005-2013 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved.

For more information on this pattern, read Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns, Second Edition, pictured on the right, pages 522 to 535. That chapter gives a complete review of the chart pattern, including tour, identification guidelines, focus on failures, performance statistics, trading tactics, and sample trade. Below is just a sliver of the information contained in the book.

Pennants are the workhorses of the day trader. They perform an invaluable service by marking the midway point in a move. However, if a pennant is not accompanied by a flagpole, then it's not a pennant. Also, performance depends on a strong price trend leading to the pennant.

Pennant chart pattern
Pennant Chart Pattern

 

Important Bull Market Results* for Pennants

Overall performance rank for up/down breakouts (1 is best): Not applicable
Break even failure rate for up/down breakouts: 2%; 4%
Average rise/decline: 25%; 19%
Throwback/pullback rate: 47%; 31%
Percentage meeting price target for up/down breakouts: 60%; 51%

The above numbers are based on hundreds of perfect trades. See the glossary for definitions.

* The performance results for pennants are based on the short-term price swing, not the change from the breakout to the ultimate high or low as in most other chart patterns.

Pennant Identification Guidelines

CharacteristicDiscussion
Price trendCan be any direction leading to the chart pattern.
ShapeLooks like a short symmetrical triangle.
TrendlinesPrices move between two converging trendlines.
3 weeksPennants are short, less than 3 weeks long. Patterns longer than that are symmetrical triangles, rising or falling wedges.
FlagpoleThe flagpole which leads to the pennant should be unusually steep and last several days.
Volume trendDownward trend 88% of the time.
BreakoutUpward 61% of the time.

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Pennant Trading Tips

Trading TacticExplanation
Measure ruleCompute the height from the start of the price swing (point A in the measure rule figure to the right) to the end of the price swing (B) and then multiply it by the above “percentage meeting price target.” Add it (upward breakouts) to the bottom of the pennant (C) or subtract it (downward breakouts) from the top of the pennant (C) to get the target (D).
Half staffThe average move from the trend start to the top of the pennant is 27% in 14 days. The move from the pennant low to the trend end is 25% and takes 23 days. Thus, the pennant appears nearly midway in a price move. The half staff figure to the right shows an example, with A equal to B.
Pennant tiltPerformance suffers when the pennant slopes in the direction of the prevailing price trend. The Pennant Tilt figure to the right shows an example of price tilting upward in a rising price trend.
Flat baseIf the pennant appears above (upward breakouts) or below (downward breakouts) a flat base then expect the move to be a large one.
Tight pennantsA tight pennant performs better than a loose one. A loose pennant is one in which price meanders, pokes outside the trendline boundary, contains white space, or looks jagged. The Tight v. Loose figure to the right shows an example.
Yearly lowPennants perform best within a third of the yearly low regardless of the breakout direction.
Throwbacks and pullbacksThrowbacks and pullbacks hurt post breakout performance.
Pennant chart pattern measure rule
The Measure Rule
Pennant half staff move
Half Staff
Pennant tilt
Pennant Tilt
Tight versus loose pennant
Tight v. Loose

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Pennant Example

Pennant chart pattern example

The above figure shows an example of a pennant chart pattern. The flagpole begins at point A and completes at B. Following that, the pennant appears from B to C, bounded by two converging trendlines then the decline resumes and bottoms at D.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Other Pennant Examples

See Also

Copyright © 2005-2013 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Hit any user to continue.